PRAIRIE CITY — Two freshmen combined to throw a solid game for the PCM baseball team June 30 during a Heart of Iowa Conference home game against Class 3A North Polk.
Derek Brown and Dane Owens combined to allow just two earned runs on seven hits and struck out six, but the other two phases of the game let the Mustangs down in a 5-0 loss to the Comets.
The Mustangs had more errors (four) than hits (one) in the loss and struck out 11 times against North Polk sophomore starter Colten Parkins.
“You have to give their pitcher credit. He threw a nice game,” PCM coach Jeff Lindsay said. “He mixed up his pitches and mixed up his locations, but we went back to some of our old habits. We have to get rid of those habits because when they rear their ugly head, things don’t work out too well for us.”
While the bats were silenced at the plate against Parkins, the Mustangs also failed to execute several routine plays in the field. A couple of early errors gave North Polk an early 2-0 game, and the four miscues in the game were too much to overcome.
“Our fielding has to get better. That’s the bottom line,” Lindsay said. ‘We have to be more consistent on defense. Our concentration is off sometimes. We have to be more focused. When we do that, we are pretty good.”
The Comets took a 3-0 lead after two innings and then plated another unearned run in the third before getting chased in the fifth after the Comets (20-6 overall, 11-3 in the HOIC) went up 5-0.
Brown (3-2) took the loss on the mound after surrendering six hits in his four innings. But only two of the five runs he allowed were earned. He struck out four and walked two.
“I thought Derek threw well. He sometimes tries to be too perfect with some pitches and some counts. He just needs to relax and trust in himself,” Lindsay said. “If he does that, he’ll be fine. He’s still learning. He has a bright future. How he learns early on in his career will be key to him climbing the success ladder.”
Owens threw the final three innings and allowed one hit with one walk and two strikeouts in 37 pitches.
Junior Noah Henkenius got the Mustangs only hit in the second inning.
Sophomore Olin Meinders reached on a one-out error in the third, but Parkins ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
Senior Braden Phifer drew a lead-off walk in the fourth, but the Mustangs struck out three straight times to end the inning.
“We got back to something that is more comfortable for us, but we have to get past that and realize what has been working for us,” Lindsay said. “When we do things the proper way, we’ll be successful.”
The Mustangs’ best threat in the game came in the fifth. Senior Ryan Hill was hit by a pitch with one out and then Meinders walked to put two runners on. Parkins (4-2) got out of the jam though with a fielder’s choice ground out and a fly out to center field.
PCM had just two base runners in the final two innings. Phifer walked in the sixth and Meinders reached on an error in the seventh. Neither runner got past first base though.
The Mustangs (16-8, 9-6) played at Pleasantville (17-11) on July 3 and hosted Lynnville-Sully (15-5) on July 5 in Prairie City. The final regular season game of the year is against HOIC rival Nevada at 7:30 p.m. on July 6 in Nevada.
PCM begins postseason play against either Roland-Story or Woodward Academy at 5 p.m. on July 11 in Van Meter.
PCM 3, South Hamilton
PRAIRIE CITY — Henkenius pitched into the seventh inning, sophomores Preston Van Wyk and Reed Worth each had two hits at the plate, and PCM claimed a 3-2 win over South Hamilton during HOIC play on June 26.
The Mustangs grabbed an early lead on Senior Night and held off a late charge by the visiting Hawks. PCM led 3-0 after four innings, but South Hamilton plated two runs in the fifth thanks to two errors by the Mustangs.
Sophomore Brayton Van Dyke earned his fourth save of the season when he was called to the mound with one out in the seventh.
Henkenius got the win and is now 5-1 on the season.
Henkenius allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings pitched. He was pulled for Van Dyke in the seventh after hitting a batter. Henkenius hit two Hawks in the game.
Van Dyke recorded a strikeout and allowed no hits and no runs in two-thirds of an inning.
“Noah pitched a nice game,” Lindsay said. “He didn’t have any issues until the sixth. A couple of errors in that inning hurt us, but we got out of it with the lead.”
PCM scored one run in the first, one in the third and one in the fourth. The Mustangs stranded six runners on base in the first four innings. They left runners on second and third twice against South Hamilton starter Zeke Balderas (1-6).
“We had opportunities to put more runs across but just didn’t do it,” Lindsay said.
Van Wyk hit two doubles and scored two runs to lead the offense. Worth had two hits, one run and one RBI, Phifer had one hit and one RBI and Van Dyke had an RBI sacrifice fly.
Senior Noah Clark and Henkenius had the other two hits.
PCM 7, Pella 6
PRAIRIE CITY — A big inning helped PCM rally past Class 3A Pella during a nonconference game here on June 27.
Trailing 5-3, the Mustangs plated four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 7-6 home triumph.
PCM sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth. The Mustangs scored four runs on only two hits. They also drew two walks, took advantage of one of Pella’s three errors and scored three runs on a wild pitch, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly.
Meinders had three hits and scored two runs to lead PCM, which had nine hits at the plate. Meinders scored a run in the fourth on a Pella error and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Van Wyk added two hits and scored one run and Worth tallied one hit, one RBI and two runs.
Van Dyke and Clark both had an RBI hit, Henkenius drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and senior Chase Kuecker and junior Colton Warrick both scored courtesy runs.
Van Dyke closed the door on Pella (14-13) in the top of seventh after the Dutch drew within one run. It was Van Dyke’s fifth save of the season.
Lindsay put Van Dyke into the game with the bases loaded and just one out. Pella scored one run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly and then he got two consecutive outs with runners on second and third.
Lindsay put Kuecker into right field when Van Dyke came to the mound, and the final out was a hard hit ball to Kuecker that he caught at the knees to end the game.
Phifer started on the mound and allowed three earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter.
Owens (3-1) got the win. He allowed one earned run on three hits. Brown started the seventh inning and got one out but allowed one run on one hit and two walks.